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Criminal Justice Act 2003

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10After section 24 there is inserted—E+W

24AChild or young person to indicate intention as to plea in certain cases

(1)This section applies where—

(a)a person under the age of 18 years appears or is brought before a magistrates' court on an information charging him with an offence other than one falling within section 51A(12) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (“the 1998 Act”); and

(b)but for the application of the following provisions of this section, the court would be required at that stage, by virtue of section 51(7) or (8) or 51A(3)(b), (4) or (5) of the 1998 Act to determine, in relation to the offence, whether to send the person to the Crown Court for trial (or to determine any matter, the effect of which would be to determine whether he is sent to the Crown Court for trial).

(2)Where this section applies, the court shall, before proceeding to make any such determination as is referred to in subsection (1)(b) above (the “relevant determination”), follow the procedure set out in this section.

(3)Everything that the court is required to do under the following provisions of this section must be done with the accused person in court.

(4)The court shall cause the charge to be written down, if this has not already been done, and to be read to the accused.

(5)The court shall then explain to the accused in ordinary language that he may indicate whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) he would plead guilty or not guilty, and that if he indicates that he would plead guilty—

(a)the court must proceed as mentioned in subsection (7) below; and

(b)(in cases where the offence is one mentioned in section 91(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000) he may be sent to the Crown Court for sentencing under section 3B or (if applicable) 3C of that Act if the court is of such opinion as is mentioned in subsection (2) of the applicable section.

(6)The court shall then ask the accused whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) he would plead guilty or not guilty.

(7)If the accused indicates that he would plead guilty, the court shall proceed as if—

(a)the proceedings constituted from the beginning the summary trial of the information; and

(b)section 9(1) above was complied with and he pleaded guilty under it,

and, accordingly, the court shall not (and shall not be required to) proceed to make the relevant determination or to proceed further under section 51 or (as the case may be) section 51A of the 1998 Act in relation to the offence.

(8)If the accused indicates that he would plead not guilty, the court shall proceed to make the relevant determination and this section shall cease to apply.

(9)If the accused in fact fails to indicate how he would plead, for the purposes of this section he shall be taken to indicate that he would plead not guilty.

(10)Subject to subsection (7) above, the following shall not for any purpose be taken to constitute the taking of a plea—

(a)asking the accused under this section whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) he would plead guilty or not guilty;

(b)an indication by the accused under this section of how he would plead.

24BIntention as to plea by child or young person: absence of accused

(1)This section shall have effect where—

(a)a person under the age of 18 years appears or is brought before a magistrates' court on an information charging him with an offence other than one falling within section 51A(12) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998;

(b)but for the application of the following provisions of this section, the court would be required at that stage to make one of the determinations referred to in paragraph (b) of section 24A(1) above (“the relevant determination”);

(c)the accused is represented by a legal representative;

(d)the court considers that by reason of the accused’s disorderly conduct before the court it is not practicable for proceedings under section 24A above to be conducted in his presence; and

(e)the court considers that it should proceed in the absence of the accused.

(2)In such a case—

(a)the court shall cause the charge to be written down, if this has not already been done, and to be read to the representative;

(b)the court shall ask the representative whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) the accused would plead guilty or not guilty;

(c)if the representative indicates that the accused would plead guilty the court shall proceed as if the proceedings constituted from the beginning the summary trial of the information, and as if section 9(1) above was complied with and the accused pleaded guilty under it;

(d)if the representative indicates that the accused would plead not guilty the court shall proceed to make the relevant determination and this section shall cease to apply.

(3)If the representative in fact fails to indicate how the accused would plead, for the purposes of this section he shall be taken to indicate that the accused would plead not guilty.

(4)Subject to subsection (2)(c) above, the following shall not for any purpose be taken to constitute the taking of a plea—

(a)asking the representative under this section whether (if the offence were to proceed to trial) the accused would plead guilty or not guilty;

(b)an indication by the representative under this section of how the accused would plead.

24CIntention as to plea by child or young person: adjournment

(1)A magistrates' court proceeding under section 24A or 24B above may adjourn the proceedings at any time, and on doing so on any occasion when the accused is present may remand the accused.

(2)Where the court remands the accused, the time fixed for the resumption of proceedings shall be that at which he is required to appear or be brought before the court in pursuance of the remand or would be required to be brought before the court but for section 128(3A) below.

24DFunctions under sections 24A to 24C capable of exercise by single justice

(1)The functions of a magistrates' court under sections 24A to 24C above may be discharged by a single justice.

(2)Subsection (1) above shall not be taken as authorising—

(a)the summary trial of an information (other than a summary trial by virtue of section 24A(7) or 24B(2)(c) above); or

(b)the imposition of a sentence,

by a magistrates' court composed of fewer than two justices.

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